The coveted Neo Geo MVS machine is one the best arcade cabinets ever made. Most video game enthusiasts would jump at the chance to own an original machine. However, the going rates of an actual 4-slot machine can be intimidating, not to mention the dedicated floor space needed to house this beast of a machine turn most away. That is where my story starts. Living in a small 2nd-floor apartment on a budget makes obtaining this machine far from a logical decision. Luckily there is a compromise. SNK was onto something when they offered their 'mini' model (with a modest 13" screen). We will borrow the idea of a small arcade cabinet and 1-up it. Let's build our own miniaturized Neo Geo MVS-inspired arcade machine. Or PacMan, or Donkey Kong... You pick.
Step 1: Tools and Parts
You can of course use a Raspberry Pi for this build, but we are opting for a slightly more traditional build and are going to focus on a JAMMA based PCB. If you're not familiar, JAMMA (Japanese Arcade Machine Manufacturers Association) is a PCB type edge connection that was standardized to simplify the manufacturing of arcades and make them semi cross-compatible (mainly on a replacement part basis). Individual manufacturers still had their own proprietary hardware, but there became more common ground after JAMMA was formed. There is a plethora of multi-game JAMMA boards out on the market for retrofitting old (and dearly departed) arcade cabinets. We will be using a Pandora's Box JAMMA board.
The rest of the parts consist of:
- 10.4" LCD (with VGA input)
- (2x) 3" Mid-range Stereo Speakers (4 Ohm impedance)
- 2 Watt stereo amplifier
- (7x) 28mm Suzo-Happ Arcade buttons
- Suzo-Happ Competition Joystick
- (4x) 16mm buttons
- JAMMA Harness
- DC jack (2.1x5.5mm)
- VGA cable
- Stereo Audio Cable
- 12V 2A DC power supply
- DC Buck Converter (step down converter)
- ~4ft 22AWG wire
- LED strips (12V)
- (~6x) 18-22AWG Quick Connect female crimps (0.187")
- Various nuts and bolts (mostly #6-32 and #8-32 hardware)
- 1/8" acrylic (about 2 sq ft)
- 1/4" plywood or MDF (about 11 sq ft)
- Soldering Iron
- Wire Cutters
- Wire Strippers
- Crimp Pliers
- Hot Glue Gun
- Something to cut wood (my own laser cutter would be nice ;)
- Drill + bits
- Screw driver
- Wood filler (putty)
- White Primer
- Vinyl Cutter + white vinyl
- Color Printer
- Wood glue (Titebond is nice)
- Bar Clamps + squeeze clamps
Next, sit back and relax with a detailed how-to video.
Step 2: Build!
Step 3: Power Circuit Details
I came to realize after publishing the video that the power circuit can be tricky to wrap your head around. You can most definitely simplify it by just using one power switch. However; if you prefer my over-engineered solution, I provided a step-by-step breakdown of how to build the circuit. The first picture is the wiring 'harness' that I made which controls power for the entire cabinet. This is what needs to be fabricated and connected to the individual components. I break it down into steps starting from power going into the machine and add each part (LCD, amp, backlight, game PCB) one-by-one.
We are running the following on 12V:
- Amplifier + speakers
- LED Backlight
The game [JAMMA] board is powered by 5V, therefore we require a step-down converter to drop the main voltage 12V to 5V.
Step 4: Building That Dream Arcade- One Machine at a Time.
The MVS turned out rather well. So, I guess the only logical next step is build all my favorite machines.
If you like this instructable, please give it a vote. Votes help me get better equipment from contests. I do not own a laser cutter, but one can dream...
Best of luck with your build!